A critical ingredient to long-term success is a strong sales leader and sales team. If you’re a cannabis company operating during COVID or coming out of the pandemic, one of the most essential action items is to generate revenue and possibly restructure your team to be the most efficient. In the world of cannabis 2.0, this is even more important. Both candidates and companies alike need to up their game to speak knowledgeably about the product to the point where you have the talent in house who can address multiple channels and verticals. Because, make no mistake, hiring authorities will expect new employees to start generating revenue immediately.
Organizations need to determine what they’re trying to achieve and what tools or resources they need to help meet those goals. Meaning, do you need to build a sales team from scratch? If so, we strongly recommend hiring the sales leader first and allowing them to build out the team that they are ultimately going to lead, rather than cobbling together a team and then hiring a leader. Or, are you adding supporting team members to build out a team around your captain? Also, consider how to structure your sales team. Will you carve it up by region, vertical, or accounts? Most companies operate within multiple channels – structurally, who is the target for your salesperson? Without a clear understanding of your organization and operating style, you’re less likely to hire the individuals needed to move the company forward successfully. Understanding your supply chain, MarTech, compensation strategy, and more will arm you with the necessary knowledge to make the time and money spent on recruiting worth it.
Although some consider the cannabis industry to be in its infancy, the patience and window for learning on the job are quickly closing. Salespeople must be able to talk the talk and walk the walk. Successful salespeople will need a deep understanding of the product, target audience, the science and cannabinoid system, etc. Two or three years ago, when those working in the CPG world started to get interested in cannabis, the cannabis industry took note and thought these pedigreed candidates coming from pharma, food, and beverage etc. would be great additions to the team. They brought with them the structure and organization of CRM, SOPs, and made the fly by the seat of their pants sales guys look amateur in comparison. However, the pedigreed salesperson coming in from another vertical might be a great salesperson, but that doesn’t always translate to a great cannabis salesperson.
Luckily, we are entering the phase where more candidates have the sales experience from other verticals and have also been actively working in the cannabis space for a year or two. These unicorn candidates bring together the best of both worlds. They have mainstream selling foundation and values in addition to a layer of cannabis industry experience, which brings with it, a base knowledge of the industry and the plant overall and a network or database of connectivity from their current experience. The cannabis industry is one of the most diverse sales opportunities in the world. The ingredient can be put into every type of CPG and medicine. Companies seeking to keep an edge on their competition will take advantage of candidates with specialized expertise and plug them into their team with laser focus.
Maintaining a flourishing company is stressful enough during a good economy. To ensure the company stays viable no matter what, some companies might look to keep cash close rather than invest back into the company to achieve growth. It’s scary to let down your guard and feel vulnerable. Smart leaders will understand that now is the time to look inward and determine what is needed to propel the company forward. Those with a strategic and targeted approach will always outperform those trying to implement a shotgun approach.